Rachel Bunting

standing at an intersection of silence.

So, today is a sort of Choose Your Own Adventure blog entry.

Do you want to read an incredibly infuriating story about a woman who was forced to perform oral sex in a college dorm room, after which her rapist had the gall to join a Facebook group created in organization against sexual violence on campus? If so, click here to head over to the Curvature and read Cara’s spot on take on another instance of rape apology.

Or do you want to read about how our violence-hungry President told the Secretary of State, during a tour of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, that we should have bombed Auschwitz to stop the killing? If that’s your cup of tea this morning, then you might want to check out this story.

Honestly, I’m not sure what to think here. I’ve made the decision to take on a Women’s and Gender Studies major at Rutgers University, knowing that I’ll be learning about and discussing things like sexual assault, violence based on gender and sexuality, and the concept of apologetics. But I will readily admit to being totally unprepared for how often I would encounter instances of these things. The Curvature is just one example of a blog documenting cases of violence, assault and misogyny – take a look at the blogroll on the side of Cara’s page, which is full of feminist blogs. The sheer volume of entries appearing at The Curvature (and the appalling content of each entry) makes me hesitant to click on anyone else’s links – how much emotional capacity exists in my body to take on these things? Can I really confront these realities for the rest of my life?

Of course I can. I just need a stronger cup of coffee first.

And Bush – well. I understand the intent behind his comment, and I also understand that bombing Auschwitz was a viable option during WW2. But that option was dismissed in favor of refocusing efforts and resources elsewhere. Yes, there’s the “for the good of the whole” argument – perhaps if the camp had been bombed early in the US involvement in the war, say 1941 or 1942, it would have closed down one of the most efficient killing camps the Nazis had going.

But consider: the US viewed reports of the occurrences at Auschwitz to be greatly exaggerated until about 1944. By this time, Auschwitz had already been open and “processing” for nearly four years. The camp was liberated in January 1945 – eight months after the US decided to listen to a couple of escaped prisoners. A large portion of the killing had already been completed prior to the time period when the US started taking people seriously about what was happening there. Bombing the camps would not necessarily have prevented any great number of people from dying – and in fact would have killed quite a few inmates in and of itself.

I suppose, most of all though, I just don’t understand how a person can stand in a memorial built for victims of incredible violence – and suggest further violence as a solution. I find it distasteful and disrespectful, no matter the intent.

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